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WestGamer Tournament League: 2012 Annual Review - WestGamer
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:18 am 
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Welcome to the WestGamer Tournament League 2012 annual review discussion thread.

As mentioned when we began the league late last year, there will be an annual review of the league system to give the community an opportunity to provide feedback on the format, account for any game system changes or moving trends, and to make any adjustments required to the league system in time for the new tournament year.

Here's how this is going to work:

- Firstly, I'm hoping to generate discussion and feedback on the current league format (the details of which can be found here) and on the list of proposed changes that will be covered in my next post. (The purpose of this thread - commencing now)
- This discussion will be used to assemble a draft of the updated WestGamer Tournament League guidelines for 2013, which will be published on 17th Dec.
- A final review discussion of this draft will then take place, with everyone once again encouraged to comment. This feedback will be used to complete the final version of the WestGamer Tournament League guidelines for 2013, which will be published and go live on 1st January 2013 to kick off the new season.
- All Tournament League tables will be updated on 1st January to incorporate any changes.

This is a very important chance for anyone who attends WA tournaments to have their say - so please contribute to the discussion with any thoughts or feedback that you have!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:18 am 
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First, a bit of background.

Purpose of the WestGamer Tournament League:

The WestGamer Tournament League is a perpetual gaming competition to determine the best generals and hobbyists in the state, by measuring ongoing performance at WA tournament events. It has also been used as a benchmark reference for several important events in our Tournament scene to date, such as:

- 40K Australasian Team Challenge WA State Team selection
- WA qualifying invite for the national 40K Masters tournament
- WA qualifying invite for the national Warhammer Masters tournament
- Determining qualifiers for the annual WestGamer Ultimate Tournaments for 40K, Warhammer and Warmachine/Hordes

Overall, the League has had a relatively successful 1st year and I'm pretty pleased with how things have gone. Throughout the year I've spent a bit of time speaking to quite a few players and event organisers, and there is no doubt that the league has provided motivation for many and positively impacted the attendance of various events across the tournament calendar. I've also gotten some great feedback from people who clearly want to see this thing achieve its full potential, so every time I've spoken to someone about these various details, I've made a note for later consideration when we conduct this review.

Why not use Rankings HQ?

This is probably the most common question that I get asked about the league - and whilst I have answered it in detail previously, I may as well do so again for clarity.

In simple terms, what we are seeking to do with the WestGamer leagues is to track the performance of players specifically at WA Events. With the way Rankings HQ gathers and filters its data - it is actually not possible to obtain the results information stored there in this manner. You can create a "group" and only add WA players to it, but there is no option to remove events outside of WA from someone's personal score - which defeats what we are trying to achieve. We're tracking WA events - not just WA players.

This matters, because if a player has the money and the means to be able to travel around to a bunch of large tournaments across the country, then they potentially have a much greater opportunity to increase their ranking compared to others who simply can't afford to do this. The goal of the WestGamer leagues is primarily to promote and support WA events, as well as to measure player performance locally.

Also:
- RHQ uses a complex and non-transparent logic engine for calculating player rankings.
- It is housed on a 3rd party site, meaning that our tournament info and these rankings are not in the same location - which is inconvenient (separate accounts & logins required for full functionality).
- The RHQ data has been proven to be unreliable with the number of errors and player name issues that repeatedly crop up - and that's just the ones we have found.
- The event size brackets that RHQ uses to award points to tournament participants are representative of the East Coast scene, not WA.
- There is no control over the date range filter for RHQ data. It only filters the last 12 months from the date of enquiry.
- Duplication of player names in the system due to slightly different spelling. Something that can be avoided easily with local knowledge of the player base.

RHQ is a very handy tool for national rankings, but it doesn't provide sufficient data at a local level for us.

Proposed changes:

Inclusivity
One of the things I've received the most feedback about during the year is the issue of inclusivity for certain events (ie; whether a particular event meets the minimum standards established for adding its scores into the league tables or not) and why or why not they should be left out of the score tracking. In particular, there are a number of events that barely meet or just fall short of the minimum game size, number of rounds or number of participants required for inclusion in the league (12), and understandably this can be disappointing for some who would rather see their results added.

For reference, the current guidelines are as follows:
Quote:
In order for an event's results to count towards the WestGamer Tournament League, it must meet the following minimum standards:

ALL EVENTS
- The event must open to anyone from the gaming public (IE; not exclusive to a set club or group).
- The event must meet the minimum standard of 12 players (this minimum applies to the number of players competing from start to finish and does not include "ringers" or "stand-ins").
- Current editions of the game rules (at the time of the event) must be used. In the case of new release game rules and faction/army/codex books, a 1 month grace period is often customary however, and is quite acceptable.
- League points will only be gathered from individual placings. Team and "doubles" placings will not count.
- It must be a WA event.
- Results from the event must be published on (or made available via) WestGamer within 1 month of the event being run. Any results released to the public outside of this period will not be counted.

WARHAMMER EVENTS
- All game sizes must be a minimum of 1500 points and at least 4 rounds must be played.
- Due to the extreme nature of Warhammer games using the "Storm of Magic" expansion, tournaments permitting the use of rules from this book are not considered as League events.

WARHAMMER 40,000 EVENTS
- All game sizes must be a minimum of 1500 points and at least 4 rounds must be played.
- Due to the extreme nature of Warhammer 40,000 games using the "Apocalypse" expansion, Apocalypse scenario tournaments are not considered as League events.

WARMACHINE & HORDES EVENTS
- All game sizes must be a minimum of 35 points and at least 4 rounds must be played.
- Warmachine & Hordes tournaments using the "Unbound" expansion rules for large games are not considered as League events.
- Tournaments with other significant variations from the standard formats (such as the "Foodmachine" can cheating mechanic) that affect gameplay are not considered as League events.
Setting these minimum requirements is a tricky issue. On one hand, we certainly don't want the league to be creating a "approved event standard" that tournament organisers feel pressured into adopting in order to be included in the league - for fear that if they don't their player attendance will be impacted negatively. We also don't want a situation (like which has already happened this year) where players who attend an event that barely meets the attendance required - has someone drop out and thus push the event below the number of players required for inclusion and denying everyone else at the event the opportunity their scores added.

On the other hand - we absolutely don't want the players who have done the hard yards by beating large groups of competitors at major events having their scores undermined by people who have taken out multiple smaller events with less competition, less rounds and of a smaller game size. The reward needs to accurately reflect the effort and skill involved in attaining it or it becomes meaningless.

With attendance in particular, one of the ways the league currently manages this is by incrementally making the scores that each player receives worth more at events within a larger size "bracket". Essentially - you beat more people with your overall finish, you get a higher score. Simple, fair, and transparent. However, with game size and number of rounds played there is no scoring range to represent the differences - largely because arguing which size game or number of rounds is the best measure for skill is a hugely debatable topic, and the more important factor is what the minimum standard should be in order to get a meaningful score. Obviously we can't rely on the results of an event with say - only 2 rounds to accurately determine skill. One bad matchup or random event during a game could have a huge impact on the final standings. The same logic applies to games with a much smaller model count than that which is recommended as the "standard" for the game system in question.

To protect the integrity of the leagues, there does need to be a few minimum event standards. If these didn't apply, then a bunch of mates could just get together and run a mini tournament in their garage every weekend and we'd have no rule to stop the scores from every one of these being added. Not only would this create a nightmarish amount of work to administer, but it would also flood the league with results generated from a small number of people - which is not what we're trying to facilitate at all. The weighting behind the information gathered needs to be substantial enough to warrant the time & effort required to track it.

I've listened to the feedback and reflected a lot on this issue during the year. Whilst I'm still very keen to hear more thoughts on the topic, the general conclusion I've come to is that we DO need to look at including the results from these smaller events in some kind of way that matters - but doesn't risk devaluing the points available at the more "mainstream" size tournaments. I'm actually pretty confident that this won't affect the players at the top end of the competitive scale at all anyway. After all - these are the people who typically get there by attaining big results at several medium to large tournaments throughout the gaming calendar, and any result they attain at a tournament with a small number of players, rounds, or army sizes is very unlikely to be one of their "top scores" that actually get counted towards that player's ladder standing. Who it will matter to - is the players at the more conservative end of the league, who frankly will probably get a bit more out of seeing their standings boosted at these smaller events where they can avoid some of the "sharks" of the WA tournament scene. ;)

As a note - (because I'm sure someone will ask), if the change is made on 1st Jan to include scores from smaller events that have not appeared in the league ladders during 2012 but are still part of the last 12 month "window", then they can be added retrospectively and incorporated in the new ladders that go live at the beginning of the year.

Number of events incorporated into player standings
This was originally set up as the same value for each of the 3 systems (for consistency) and was based on the attendance trends for players across tournaments for the previous 12 months. As this is a changing and always evolving trend, it certainly needs to be reviewed again. I am also of the opinion now that we need to look at each game system separately. Attendance averages for one game are not necessarily the same as another (as you will see in my next post which will cover some of the current stats from the most recent 12 months).

Getting the number of events that count towards a player's score right is a bit of a balancing act. On one hand, the more event results we include - the more accurate the performance data is and it does tend to encourage players to get out and attend more tournaments. On the other hand, the last thing we want to be doing is simply assigning high scores to players for quantity of attendance rather than the quality of their performance. The best players are certainly not just the ones that can manage to attend just about every tournament during the year.

Currently, the league incorporates a player's best 2 results for the current 12 month cycle to create their league points total (not counting the bonus "podium points" that are available for attending and placing at additional events). My current thoughts based on the updated attendance data is to change this to the following:

- Warhammer 40,000: best 3 results
- Warhammer: best 2 results
- Warmachine/Hordes: best 3 results

Another thing to consider here is that if we alter the minimum requirements for an event to be counted towards the league tables (see the notes on inclusivity above), then this will increase the average attendance stats for each system as well.

Scheduling of Updates
A particular challenge this year has been getting updates made to each of the ladders in a timely fashion - which I know has been a little frustrating to some who have been waiting on their results to go up. In some cases I've been able to get it done pretty much immediately after the event is done, but in other cases it has taken weeks before I've been able to schedule to time to get it done, or another event has been approaching on the calendar so it's made sense to wait until that's done and incorporate multiple results in one hit.

All in all, the regularity of updates has been inconsistent - which is not ideal. I'm currently thinking that the sensible approach will be to do RHQ has started doing this year and schedule a single update at the beginning of each month. That way, everyone knows when the updates will be made and the workload from an administrative perspective becomes much more manageable as it's only 12 updates per year. It does mean that events run at the beginning of each month will have to wait a little longer to have their results go up, but overall I'm thinking that the pros outweigh the cons here.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:19 am 
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Also, here are some interesting stats (from tracked league events in the current 12 month cycle, 1st Nov 2011 - 1st Nov 2012) for everyone to consider for this discussion:

Total events tracked per system
Warhammer 40,000 - 11 events.
Warhammer - 4 events.
Warmachine/Hordes - 7 events.

Total number of players tracked per system
Warhammer 40,000 - 138 players.
Warhammer - 39 players.
Warmachine/Hordes - 59 players.

Highest attendance per system
Warhammer 40,000 - 55 players.
Warhammer - 20 players.
Warmachine/Hordes - 48 players.

Average attendance per system
Warhammer 40,000 - 26 players.
Warhammer - 16 players.
Warmachine/Hordes - 24 players.

Average number of events attended by players per system
Warhammer 40,000 - 2.07 events.
Warhammer - 1.64 events.
Warmachine/Hordes - 2.83 events.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:33 am 
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I'd like to know what size the event's needed to be to be worth "max points".

For War Machine, we had F & F last year which was a great success, but nothing has even come close to it, not even within 10 players...
So I find a having a large event like this can skew the results for the rest of the year, unless the even is capped at X players (for points).


Average Attendance says 24, but I'd like to know what the average is without the F&F event, as I feel most events peak at 24 players.

My suggestion would be to make tournaments worth a maxium amount of points if they hit say.... 26 players ?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:48 am 
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Looking at the tournament calendar (with a bias for Fantasy) for next year there seem to be a lot of one day events planned. Now we dont have the details for these yet but 3 games per day is the norm. Would it be worth lowering the game requirement from 4 to 3 to allow these events as league worthy?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:18 am 
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Quote:
I'd like to know what size the event's needed to be to be worth "max points".
Sure, this information is readily available over on the League rules page and is as follows:
Quote:
At the end of a tournament, the maximum total points available for a player to earn relate to 3 event size categories as follows:

Small Event (Up to 23 Players) = Maximum 800pts
Medium Event (24 - 35 Players) = Maximum 900pts
Large Event (36+ Players) = Maximum 1000pts
Here's how the different point "brackets" looked when applied to each of the game systems over the year:

Number of Small Events (Up to 23 Players)
Warhammer 40,000 - 5 events.
Warhammer - 4 events.
Warmachine/Hordes - 5 events.

Number of Medium Events (24 - 35 Players)
Warhammer 40,000 - 5 events.
Warhammer - 0 events.
Warmachine/Hordes - 1 event.

Number of Large Events (36+ Players)
Warhammer 40,000 - 1 event.
Warhammer - 0 events.
Warmachine/Hordes - 1 event.

Whether these brackets need adjusting or not is certainly something we can look at for the new year.
Quote:
For War Machine, we had F & F last year which was a great success, but nothing has even come close to it, not even within 10 players...
So I find a having a large event like this can skew the results for the rest of the year, unless the even is capped at X players (for points).

Average Attendance says 24, but I'd like to know what the average is without the F&F event, as I feel most events peak at 24 players.

My suggestion would be to make tournaments worth a maxium amount of points if they hit say.... 26 players ?
Yes, the Focused & Furious tournament last December was a bit of an anomaly in terms of average event size and this has stretched the results a little bit. Average attendance without it is certainly lower than 24 (around 20 actually). I would expect this issue to pretty much sort itself out after next month when it drops from rotation though, as we've not seen anything like it since and the Warmachine scene seems to have entered its next stage of growth where attendance is evening out to a somewhat consistent level (partly I suspect due to the calendar being flooded with events).

We can lower the threshold for the top bracket, but the thing to keep in mind is that you don't want to do this too much or players at any major events will not be adequately rewarded for the efforts they put in to beat a much larger field of opponents.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:21 am 
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Quote:
Looking at the tournament calendar (with a bias for Fantasy) for next year there seem to be a lot of one day events planned. Now we dont have the details for these yet but 3 games per day is the norm. Would it be worth lowering the game requirement from 4 to 3 to allow these events as league worthy?
Certainly something that will be considered in line with my notes on "Inclusivity" above. One day events are growing in popularity and certainly need to be catered for, but the question that will remain is whether they should have the same total league points available to the participants, and if not - how much less is appropriate.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:30 pm 
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Quote:
With attendance in particular, one of the ways the league currently manages this is by incrementally making the scores that each player receives worth more at events within a larger size "bracket". Essentially - you beat more people with your overall finish, you get a higher score. Simple, fair, and transparent. However, with game size and number of rounds played there is no scoring range to represent the differences - largely because arguing which size game or number of rounds is the best measure for skill is a hugely debatable topic, and the more important factor is what the minimum standard should be in order to get a meaningful score. Obviously we can't rely on the results of an event with say - only 2 rounds to accurately determine skill. One bad matchup or random event during a game could have a huge impact on the final standings. The same logic applies to games with a much smaller model count than that which is recommended as the "standard" for the game system in question.
If the purpose is to reward the players that beat more people at the torunament, then perhaps instead of basing your points increments on total players at an event, perhaps it could be based on total rounds at the event.
For example, at the moment, events with;
- 12 to 23 players have max 800pts
- 24 to 35 players have max 900pts
- 36+ players have max 1000pts

Now, as an example only, look at it this way;
- 3 Round events have max 700pts
- 4 round events have max 800pts
- 5 round events have max 900pts
- 6 round events have max 1000pts
- 7 round events have max 1100pts
- 8+ round events have max 1200pts

Then maintain the minimum standards of play cap and points limit, and all one day events (typically 3 - 5 rounds) and two day events (5+ rounds) can add to the ladder.
It also gives a better representation of the better player actually having beaten more opponents at an event.

Obviously, just a suggestion, but one that I imagine will shown the more consistent performance of top players.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:33 pm 
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I gotta say I think Ju has hit the nail on the head from a WM/H view point, as number of rounds reflects number of players pretty closely using the Steamroller tournament pack and lets face it 99% of WMH events do.
I even think his point values nicely reflect the intention of the WTL.

I have a couple more suggestions and all of these will be with WM/H in mind as I don't and haven't played either of the other systems in a tournament level.

I believe all point level games should count to the WTL. While I agree that the lower point games can be seen as less serious that doesn't reduce the competitive level the top tables play to at these events. The exclusion of these lower point events from the league has created a situation this year of there not being any intro level events run. This is a disastrous thing to happen with what is still a young and growing gaming community. A solution could be to have events below a certain point size, say below 25 points, have a % decrease in the value of points earned for the WTL. This reduces the impact of smaller point games to the league giving the "serious" events the numerical advantage in the league.
This change will give newer players a way to break into the WTL and to rate themselves against the others within the community. It also provides a healthy level of variety to the tournament schedule and a more accurate rating of the higher ranking players mastery of the game in all its forms.

I agree that the garage fun events (like SardineMachine, GrudgeMachine etc.) shouldn't be included but I think that the ability for Westgamer management to reject events for WTL tracking already exists and can be exercised in this situation.

I'm sure I have forgotten something and will probably post again in 5 mins when I remember...

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:36 pm 
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Dammit...not even 5 mins.
Processing the league ladder once per month in the same way RHQ now does is a fantastic way of doing things.
Players know when the changes will be made and threads whining about results not being published yet will cease. Also TOs and players alike will know when the last qualifying event will be run before the Ultimates selection process starts.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:14 pm 
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I like the idea of once a month reporting even if it as simple as te last Friday of each month.

As for smaller wmh games, I like the idea of including 25pts and up. Perhaps for 25-30pt events to be included they need 20+ players to count?? Sort of scale the player count up?

At 25pts a battle box and one purchaser is really all that is needed.

Just a thought


Last edited by Gambit on Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:20 pm 
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Quote:
I like the idea of once a month reporting even if it
I like it asap :P

I like being able to see how things shift 1-2 days after the results are in.

:mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:05 pm 
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Obviously, talking about Warmachine/Hordes..

Lower point tournaments really need to count towards rankings. Them not doing so provide a negative insensitive for both tournament organizers and new players. Excluding them is bunk. This is actually the biggest issue on my mind.

Even if 15-25pt tournaments count for %less than 35-50, they should still contribute. Lower point tournaments can be just as tough to win as higher ones, considering how low point games can compound bad matchups.

Minimum players should be 8, not 12. And minimum players completing the event should be irrelevant. Once you lose a game in WMH, you generally cannot win. Drops happen. I'd prefer they didn't, but sometimes people get called into work, get sick, whatever. Others shouldn't be punished for it.

I'm also fine with the fact large events skew the assigned points. It's a large event. You should be rewarded for doing well at them.

I'd also be fine with backyard tournaments (Sardinemachine etc) not being worth any league points. In fact I think it's a good idea.

Also if you're going to include a blanket "no" for events with cheat mechanics, Skulls should probably be out. Two rerolls may not be much in Warhammer, but they can easily turn a loss into a win for us.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:12 pm 
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How can you say 8players counts, but sardinemachine does not count?

That is contradictory; sardinemachine events are not exclusive or invite only, anyone who wants to play can.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:14 pm 
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Quote:
How can you say 8players counts, but sardinemachine does not count?

That is contradictory; sardinemachine events are not exclusive or invite only, anyone who wants to play can.
Exactly, Its just a tournament, with a player cap....

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